Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Some more links for Yarmouth

Well I guess I got the Council members wrong for Yarmouth. Bureaucracy seems to be very heavy in small town Nova Scotia - there's a MUNICIPALITY of the district of Yarmouth, and then there's also the TOWN of Yarmouth. I have personally been to Yarmouth a couple times and I didn't know the difference. That's what happens when you name several things the same thing too many times. I grew up in Amherst Nova Scotia and in my neighbourhood there was Dickey Park, Dickey school, Dickey Brook, the Dickey museum - you get what I mean. RB Dickey was a founding father of confederation - and I guess the only famous guy to come out of Amherst at one point. So every fan damn thing was named after him. And for a kid - being able to say DICKey was fabulous!

But anyway - email addresses for the CORRECT town councillors for the TOWN of Yarmouth are: Mayor Charles Crosby -; Councillor Cliff Hood -; Councillor Esther Dares - (she's the one who said she couldn't think of one good reason why dog's should be allowed downtown and she even owns a dog herself); Councillor Murray Judge -; Councillor Byron Boudreau -; Deputy Mayor Martin Pink -; Councillor Wally Strickland - - these were all found at

I had an email from my friend Tiffany Mullen who is the coordinator of the Therapy Dog Program for St. John Ambulance who's been in contact with volunteers down there - because therapy dogs are used everywhere in the province and are needed everywhere - I don't know what kind of businesses are on Main street and the business core of Yarmouth - but if there's any old folk's homes or hospitals - they might be shit out of luck if the ban on dogs was to take effect in regard to the great work that therapy dogs do.

But she's gotten positive word that the Yarmouth Development Corporation is working with the Town Council and hopefully local merchants are against the ban - and that local dog owners will also step up to the plate. It's NOT a fait-de-complet yet.

As well though - Yarmouth has not gone unnoticed in other parts of Canada - an Ontario blog that usually just talks about dog-politics in that province is talking about Yarmouth - a blog called "Dog Owners Rights in Canada" has a post called "Yarmouth - not anti-breed, just anti-dog" - where it talks about Yarmouth's problems. So negative idea's about that part of the world is getting out - and that's NOT a good thing. Not good at all.

In the comments section Marjorie from Good pooch left some really good points about pooper scooping that I thought was worth pointing out in case people don't check out the comments section:

There have been a number of successful strategies for reducing the amount of dog poop on sidwalks.

The two main components are:

1. Education

Education about a dog owner's legal responsibilities, and education about the public health concerns, and overall yuck factor.

Dog owners can also be educated about the simplicity of asking their dogs to relieve themselves on their own property, before embarking on a walk.

2. Enforcement

The low-down, dirty dawgs (not "dogs") who insist on leaving their pets' poop for others to step in will only change their ways if they're penalized for doing so.

Sure, the initial response of the truly dedicated "poop and run-er" to the prospect of a fine, is to start walking their dogs when fewer people are around to witness their dastardly "crimes". That usually means earlier in the morning or later in the evening. (Poor dogs, who have to 'hold it'.)

But, eventually, most begin to come around, once they see other dog owners doing the right thing, and maybe even once they step in their own messes, and suffer the consequences of their negligence.

Most people don't realize that fines, themselves, don't usually make much of an impact because, in order for the case to hold up in court, the issuing officer has to witness the "crime" in the act. Most incidents don't meet this requirement.

I haven't heard of anyone actually being fined based entirely on video evidence, but I'd sure like to see a web site with such videos freely available, to embarrass those folks into doing the right thing.

That actually reminds me of a more tragic outcome of such an initiative.

In some countries, the concept of "honour" is practically life and death. Well, in one Asian country, someone used a cellular phone to record a woman allowing her dog to defecate on public property, without cleaning it up. The individual then posted the video to the Internet, at which point the woman's identity was soon discovered.

People began harrassing her mercilessly. Don't quote me, but I think she may have attempted suicide, as a result. Either way, it was very humilating for her.

In North America, it'd be just our luck that the same situation would result in a near-heroic cult-following of the perpetrator, on YouTube.

Irony of ironies, just yesterday I was asked to provide advice to dog owners, on this very subject, for one U.S. newspaper. Here's the portion that specifically addresses this issue:


"There is a very easy way for dog owners to be more considerate, when it comes to allowing their dogs to soil public property.

I have taught responsible dog ownership for a number of years now, and expect every dog owner to be responsible, and ask their pets to relieve themselves on the owners' properties BEFORE venturing out for walks.

I do it, myself, every time!"

Dog owners can learn more tips, by reading the article, "Dog Walking Etiquette" at


  1. Anonymous5:07 AM

    Hi Joan, some good news:
    From the Chronicle Herald...
    "Businesses oppose dog ban


    YARMOUTH — Downtown business owners have voted against a dog ban proposed by town council.

    Dave Whiting, general manager of the Yarmouth Development Corporation, said town councillors asked him to take the issue to a recent board meeting. After a lengthy debate, downtown merchants decided that it’s better to work with dog owners than against them.

    "There are a lot of people that enjoy walking their pets downtown; they enjoy the downtown area, so we chose to work with the situation rather than just ban dogs from the area," Mr. Whiting said Thursday.

    The dog ban was proposed at a town council meeting in late September. Martin Pink, deputy mayor, said there are two main issues with dogs in downtown Yarmouth: safety and cleanliness.

    "During the commercial shopping hours some people are generally intimidated or fearful of these dogs. Then you’ve got the problem with the mess on the sidewalks," he said, adding that Yarmouth already has a bylaw that instructs owners to pick up their dogs’ feces.

    But Mr. Pink said a dog ban is far from being a reality.

    The idea was simply suggested and councillors have been researching what other Canadian municipal units are doing to control dogs in shopping districts.

    "If we were to enact a bylaw, there has to be the public participation process, there has to be a hearing where people would be able to make their pitch and say they agree or don’t agree, so it’s not like we can just ram it down the citizens’ throats without any public input," he said.

    Mr. Whiting said although downtown merchants aren’t in favour of a dog ban, they might revisit the issue after some dog waste bag dispensers are installed downtown.

    "Those will be installed on both ends of the downtown core on both sides of the street," Mr. Whiting said.

    "We want to see how it will work and see if we can address the problem in different ways."

    He’s not sure when the dispensers will be installed. Mr. Whiting said the development corporation just received them last week and might wait until spring before installing them.

    Mr. Pink defended the proposed dog ban, saying downtown Yarmouth is like a shopping mall.

    "It’s an outdoor shopping mall and you wouldn’t see dogs in Park Lane or Halifax Shopping Centre, but because Main Street in Yarmouth is outdoors, (dogs) are allowed to defecate on the sidewalk and bear their teeth," he said.


  2. Anonymous3:58 PM

    I've said it before and I'll say it many times - from small towns come small minds.